Cyber threats are rapidly evolving and are now a bigger potential risk to businesses than terrorism events.

That’s the grim message from US communications expert Bob Jensen, who recently retired as a senior official from the US Federal Government after spending 31 years leading US Government communications efforts for headline events, including the Afghanistan and Iraq wars, the Haiti earthquake, the Deepwater Horizon oil spill and Hurricane Sandy.

Mr Jensen is about to embark on an Australia-wide lecture tour sponsored by the Risk Management Institution of Australasia (RMIA) to share his insights into crisis and risk management.

He said fewer than one in 10 businesses organisations had “real” cyber security plans and most had underestimated the potential damage and risk from cyber threats. Even government organisations were still very vulnerable.

Third-party liability was a key factor holding some companies back from greater sharing and openness about cyber breaches. Mr Jensen warned that consumers and customers were quick to sue organisations that breached their privacy and the reputational damage could force organisations out of business.

“Despite any new laws that might give organisations some immunity from prosecution, a loss of public confidence can have a massive impact on an organisation’s future,” he said.

Mr Jensen’s address is entitled Critical Elements of Communication in Crisis and Risk Management. His presentations are in Sydney, Canberra, Melbourne, Adelaide, Perth and Brisbane.

He will share insights and lessons learned from government and private sector perspectives for major events for which he has managed communications and tell RMIA event participants how they can integrate those insights into their own enterprise risk management efforts.

He will use case studies and examples that cover cybersecurity, counterterrorism, natural disasters, pandemics, economic challenges, political instability and war.

He will explain what governments globally see as major threats and risks and explain how the US Government is using a risk-based approach to plan for and manage national security.

In addition to his roles with the US Defence Department, the Federal Emergency Management Agency and the US State Department, Mr Jensen has been a spokesman for the US National Security Council, covering issues from terrorism and trade to cyber security and international conflicts.

His Australian tour starts on February 26 in Sydney and ends in Brisbane on March 17. For more information, click here.

RMIA is the peak body for risk management practitioners in the Asia-Pacific region. It provides education, professional development and networking opportunities; recognised certification of professional standards, competency and ethics; and value-added services for members.

Original Article